The Name of the Game: Kosovo Police Local Ownership

10 September 2009

“I fully support the full implementation of the 36 recommendations identified in the EULEX Six Month Programmatic Report. I believe the Kosovo Police will not stall,” Sheremet Ahmeti, Director-General, Kosovo Police (KP), told an audience of 80 KP officers at KP Station no. 1, Pristina, on 9 September.

The meeting marked the formal launch for implementing the recommendations in the EULEX Programme Report (July 2009) to improve Rule of Law Institutions – in this case the KP. While the report (based on 1,325 assessments on the KP made by EULEX monitors and advisors) states the Kosovo Police (KP) is in many ways an ‘exemplary organization,’ 36 recommendations for change are made. They included strengthening the KP’s capacity to deal with organized crime and the introduction of ‘intelligence-led’ policing throughout the organization.

The KP officers at the briefing came from different units in the service and had recently attended Best Practices training. They had been appointed MMA Team and Deputy Team Leaders to serve as counterparts to EULEX Police Strengthening Department MMA Action Teams. The purpose: joint implementation of the proposals. Frank Harris, EULEX Programme Manager, Programme Office, explained: “EULEX will provide them with mentoring and advice, the KP will make the changes.”

Speakers at the event were Colonel Reshat Maliqi, Director, Directorate of Policy and Analysis, KP HQ, who stressed good cooperation. EULEX speakers were Uwe Heller, Chief Advisor to KP who fielded a Q & A session “to encourage dialogue”, Stephen Smith, Deputy Head Programme Office, and Frank Harris, Programme Manager, Programme Office.

Some example of the spheres encompassed in the 36 MMA Actions put forward in the six month Programmatic Report include: KP relations with Public Prosecutors; Managing investigations and prosecutions performance; Ethnicity of crime victims; Quality of statistics; Criminal intelligence capability; KP data management; Crime investigation at Station level.

The aim of this exercise is to move KP closer to six EULEX aims: sustainability, accountability, and multi-ethnicity, freedom from political interference, compliance with international recognized standards and compliance with EU best practices. According to Harris, who has a number of years of experience working with KP: “It’s about positive organizational change so it benefits the KP as individuals and as a group.”

Currently EULEX MMA officers and KP Team and Deputy Team Leader need to meet to plan details on how to address weaknesses or non-compliance identified in the Report. Stephen Smith, Deputy Head, Programme Office: “MMA can’t solve everything. Capacity building and new equipment is being provided by the European Commission so it’s a dynamic process.”

Harris told his audience that the KP was like the Barcelona football team, trying to win the champion’s league. EULEX was like a coach: it provided a strategy, monitored performance to improve operational and managerial skills. “MMA will help you but only you will score the goals. The idea is you and you alone are on the field,” he continued.

In short, it’s about accountability and local ownership.